25th May, 2010
The Governor of Edo State, Nigeria, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole says even if the President, Goodluck Jonathan has all the resources at his disposal, there is no way he can solve the nationâ€™s problem in one year he has to stay in office.
He said the president could, however, lay a solid structure for the future to build on in six months, which is, by returning power to the people and allowing their votes to count.
Oshiomhole spoke at the Business Luncheon Lecture of the Island Club yesterday in Lagos, Nigeria, where he was the guest lecturer.
According to him, if power continued to be in the hands of godfathers, nothing would ever move forward in this nation.
The governor called for the existence of five political parties in the country, saying that the idea of having over 30 political parties did not make sense. He said with five political parties, the nationâ€™s needs could be met.
â€œI believe that there is a case for limiting the number of officially registered political parties, otherwise Nigeria becomes a one party state. I believe that with five political parties all the interest can be provided for. Presently what we have now is the ruling party and the other parties,â€ he said.
On the appointment of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Oshiomhole was of the opinion that the president should not dabble into the matter but allow an independent body to appoint the chairman of the body.
â€œGoodluck Jonathan has shown flashes of unbiased executive disposition during the conduct of the Anambra and Etsako East elections. Yet, it is too early to draw fundamental conclusions. We will kow where he stands when the bigger interests of the ruling party in the states are at stake or in deed, when the president might be a candidate.
â€œPresident Jonathanâ€™s handling of the appointment of the chairman of INEC is an immediate test of his integrity. As we speak, all sorts of groups and individuals are hawking the names of their respective candidates based on patently self-serving calculations,â€ he said.
â€œFor me, it would be wrong for the president to pick a chairman for INEC. However, if Mr. President must exercise his will to appoint a chairman for INEC by himself, then he needs to make his choice from the ranks of those patriotic and committed Nigerians who have invested in the democratic project. â€
â€œIn other words, the right thing to do is to pick an experienced and courageous democratic activist from the civil society as the chairman of INEC. However, it would offend decency and make nonsense of the sensitivity of Nigerians for any card-carrying member of a political party to be appointed as INEC chairman irrespective of the qualities of the persons,â€ he added.
Oshiomhole said that until Nigeria produces a president who will preside over the defeat of his party, â€œif that is the will of God, we really cannot be said to have arrived,â€ he said, adding that â€œwe need to encourage Nigerians who have made impact in the private sector, civil society, the labour movement and others to play active roles in partisan politics.â€
On the anti-corruption crusade, Oshiomhole stated that he was worried by the severity and implications of corruption for democracy and development, saying that â€œI believe that the gap between Nigeria â€™s vast resources and the poor level of development can best be explained by the pervasive corruption.â€
â€œIt is bad enough that corruption has been embedded in governance at all levels. But what is even worse is that the Nigerian variant of corruption is extremely subversive of development and it would seem that nothing is too big that it cannot be stolen.
â€œUltimately, corruption must be confronted, attacked and defeated, otherwise, Nigeria cannot break out of the vicious cycle of under-development as long as public funds are stolen with so much impunity,â€ he added.